2012 Prize Winner
Gentlemen: In the locker rooms! shouts Francisco Hernandez, as young men sprint from the parking lot of Roosevelt High School. If you plan on playing today: In the locker rooms!
Hernandez, 28, is whats known in the parlance as a Social and Support Services for Educational Success case manager, stationed at Roosevelt and Wilson high schools. Each year he works with nearly 50 students at risk of failing.
We help them build goals that are achievable, Hernandez says. We want them to be successful in school and not feel disconnected. Thats the big issue for a lot of kids; they feel that nobody cares. Or they feel like theyre just going through the motions.
Along with coaching basketball and football, Hernandez is a mentor and stable role model for the students he tutors in Neighborhood Houses Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) Service System, which provides extended-day opportunities, activities, clubs and tutoring.
A lot of these kids are like me, he says. I grew up in a house where it wasnt the traditional family structure, and a lot of these kids have barriers I faced while I was going through school. I just needed one adult to help me get through those barriers.